Potential for ice jams on the Similkameen River

Jan 5 2022

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (RDOS EOC) is activated to monitor and support potential ice jam events on the Similkameen River. The EOC is reminding residents and visitors to be aware of potential flooding and other hazards on or near area waterways, including the Similkameen River.

If you live near the Similkameen River, be prepared to leave on short notice even if your property is not under Evacuation Alert.

Important reminders:

  • If you notice water pooling on your property, including groundwater, contact the EOC, 250-490-4225.
  • If you notice ice jamming and you or your property may be threatened, leave the area if it is safe to do so and call 9-1-1
  • Warmer temperatures can cause ice jams to shift
  • Keep a safe distance from waterways, ice jams, and river banks
  • Snowfall may be covering potential hazards near waterways and river banks
  • Water levels can fluctuate quickly and erosion can cause river banks to become unstable
  • Report any blockages or rising ice levels near the top of a river bank
  • Heavy snowfall is forecast across southwestern British Columbia
  • Now is the time to prepare for cold temperatures, power outages, and icy road conditions


Tips to prepare for an ice jam:

  • Follow information on weather advisories from the River Forecast Centre
  • Have a plan and educate others, including neighbours
  • Have access to a sump pump
  • Know the risks associated with living in a floodplain
  • Have an emergency kit and grab-and-go bag available and easily accessible
  • Sand and sandbags may be issued by the RDOS EOC to residents whose homes are under imminent threat of ice jam flooding
  • Visit the RDOS EOC website for tips and information: https://emergency.rdos.bc.ca/


During an ice jam, water levels can rise over minutes or hours. Ice jams can also release suddenly, sending fast-flowing water and ice downstream.
An ice jam release can cause water levels to decrease quickly near the ice jam but rise downstream.

For further information, please call the EOC Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm at 250-490-4225. If you would like to leave a message, the EOC phone is being monitored and your call will be returned as soon as possible. In the case of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.